Food and Health

WVU Extension Service’s Family Nutrition Program helps youths hydrate healthier

This summer, West Virginia University Extension Service’s Family Nutrition Program is helping campers stay hydrated through healthy drink education and by offering healthy hydration alternatives at 4-H camps across the state.

With the help of the Rethink Your Drink campaign, a WVU Extension Service Families and Health initiative, youths are educated about the importance of hydrating and provided with alternative, healthy drink options instead of soda and other sweetened beverages.

“Public schools have been highlighting the importance of reducing high calorie, sugary beverages while school is in session. WVU Extension Service is carrying that concept over into summer camps throughout West Virginia,” said Kristin McCartney, WVU Extension Service’s Family Nutrition Program public health specialist.

Some of the most common health problems related to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages include diabetes, obesity and poor dental health. Benefits to youths who choose water or low-sugar, fruit infused water are significant.

By replacing sugar sweetened beverages with these drinks, health risks can be drastically reduced.

With hydration stations at camps, WVU Extension Service faculty, staff and volunteers’ can offer healthy hydration options and help to reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity for youths in the state.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, sugar sweetened beverages are the most prominent source of unnecessary added sugars in youths’ diet. McCartney explains that integrating healthy hydration options and education at camp can help youths make smarter drink decisions.

“Healthy living and lifestyle choices start from a young age. If we focus on our young people and teach them healthy drink habitats, like choosing fruit infused water instead of soda, we can greatly reduce health concerns that might have otherwise developed later in life,” added McCartney.

Along with the educating youths, WVU Extension Service’s Family Nutrition program also teaches adults about proper nutrition, how to stretch a dollar when purchasing groceries, how to read food labels and much more.

You can reduce your drink caloric intake and enjoy a refreshing, healthy beverage by making your own fruit infused water.